The Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, Mr Nii A. Odunton says the level of interest in deep seabed mining has increased rapidly and significantly after decades of being ‘on hold’.
Speaking at a media event in London on Thursday, 14 March for the launch of UK Seabed Resources Ltd., the latest exploration contractor with the ISA, Mr Odunton said the increase in interest was a welcome and positive development – driven by the dramatic increase in metal demand, increase in metal prices, decline in the tonnage and grade of land-based nickel, copper and cobalt sulphide deposits and technological advances in deep seabed mining and processing.
He said that in recent years there have been clear signs that the private sector and the financial institutions that support it believe that deep seabed mining can be commercially viable.
He further stated that since the Authority became operational in 1996, its primary task has been a painstaking process of rule making designed to ensure that the regulatory regime for exploration is robust, predictable and providing not only for security of tenure for investors but also the necessary protection for the international community as a whole in terms of responsibility for environmental damage.
The International Seabed Authority has since 2001, issued 13 licences – with another six in prospect.
Established under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the international community through the International Seabed Authority administers all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction for the common heritage of mankind, to be developed for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
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